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Hector Qirko Band at Steve Wildsmith

Steve Wildsmith

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Hector’s coming back to howl with the Coyotes!

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Hector-QirkoHector Qirko

If you’re missing that genteel guitar god Hector Qirko, who moved to Charleston, S.C., in 2010 to take a teaching position at the College of Charleston, buck up: He’s coming back to East Tennessee for at least one gig.

For more than three decades, Qirko brought flair, panache and a helluva guitar-playing face to the East Tennessee music scene as a partner to local singer-songwriter R.B. Morris, in long-gone bands like Balboa, with the long-running Hector Qirko Band (which won the 2010 Metro Pulse Best Blues Band award) and with the Lonesome Coyotes.

The Coyotes, in fact, will be performing at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at The Grove Theater, 123 Randolph Road in Oak Ridge, and Qirko is making the trek to East Tennessee to participate. As an added bonus: Dana Paul of the band Rich Mountain Tower, which released three albums and played around East Tennessee in the early 1970s, will be a part of the Grove Theater concert as well.

I reached out to Hector a couple of months back, asking him how he’s doing. Here’s what he told me:

“I’m having fun anthropoligizing and living in Charleston. Music-wise, I’ve been playing mostly acoustic and mostly at home, although some gigs as a duo with another K-town expat, Kevin Crothers (formerly of the Knoxville band Sea 7 States), on bass. Pretending to be a singer-songwriter has been interesting, and it has actually led to my writing more songs, but I guess I’m not as sensitive as the job requires — I’m increasingly wanting to make more noise! So I figure a little electric band is in my future.”

Written by wildsmith

January 7th, 2013 at 11:30 am

Hector Qirko bids adieu to East Tennessee

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It’s ironic that a guy whose band recently won the title of Best Blues Band in Metro Pulse’s Best of Knoxville poll is doing something that’ll make a lot of local music fans blue — leaving town.

Hector Qirko, that guitar god who’s been a fixture in the local music scene as a member of the Lonesome Coyotes, as sideman to poet/singer-songwriter R.B. Morris and as frontman for the Hector Qirko Band — which would have celebrated 25 years together this summer — has accepted a position at the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. As a former South Carolina resident, I can’t say that I blame him; few cities are more picturesque than Charleston. It may be my second-favorite city I’ve ever spent time in. (The first being Key West, Fla.) And when you consider that Hector makes his living as an anthropologist — he’s been with the University of Tennessee for years — it only makes more sense, given Charleston’s long and storied history.

Hector wrote to me tonight: “I’m headed to Charleston, S.C., to take a job as Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the College of Charleston.  It’s a great school and department and a wonderful opportunity to do some full-time anthropology (my job at UT was great too, by the way, but part-time, and necessarily so because my degrees are from UT as well — they understandably don’t tend to hire their own). So I’m really looking forward to it.”

In the meantime, you should forget about the fact that parting is such sweet sorrow and make plans to be in attendance at a big ol’ bash coming up — a double-bill featuring R.B. Morris and the Coyotes at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 10, on the Old City Courtyard Stage (located behind Southbound Bar and Grill/adjacent to Barley’s Taproom). It’s only $5, and Hector will be pulling double duty with both outfits.


It’s his last show in town for a while, we’ve been told, and it leaves his various projects with giant shoes to fill. The Coyotes will probably try and soldier on without him, given they have several dates on the books (including one coming up in July at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend), and R.B. can probably find another guitar-slinger to back his own playing and singing … but the HQ Band may well have to significantly scale back its appearances when Hector’s able to make it back — if they play at all. On his own website, Hector comments on the Metro Pulse win by stating, “This one means a lot to us, because HQ has taken a job in Charleston, S.C., and it’s a very nice way to go out.”

And, he added to me, don’t count him out of the local scene altogether: “It’s not so far from K-town that I won’t be able to look in on, and hopefully play with, my old friends from time to time.”

Best of luck, Hector. You’re a helluva good dude and will be missed. For old time’s sake, here’s my 2008 review of his band’s album, “Old School.”


Written by wildsmith

May 25th, 2010 at 5:34 pm